On Borrowed Time

In this report we identify healthcare (currently 8.1% of GDP), pensions (8.1%), education (5.9%) and welfare (5.3%) as the biggest sources of concern. They have grown, we conclude, largely because there has been too little debate about their continuing role in a world that is now very different from that of the Beveridge era, with insufficient attention given to different ways of providing the same services better. Without such frank discussion, the funding problem is likely to continue and to increase. The report identifies options, both temporary and long-term, to turn the liabilities of these state obligations into assets, raising On Borrowed Time | 7 more than £270bn – enough to pay down 35% of our current indebtedness. The proposals harness the incentives of choice and competition, replacing runaway costs with a self-limiting system focused on innovation and value for money. Greater non-state provision, co-payments, voucher systems, personal accounts rather than anonymous government programmes, focused rather than universal benefits – all of these, we believe, have an important role to play in stabilising the public finances of the future.

Read this report.